Friday, February 10, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
 
State MBA programs on the rise nationally
Two distance degree programs offered by Mississippi State University's College of Business are among the best in the nation in rankings released by U.S. News & World Report. The 2017 U.S. News & World Report rankings of best online programs lists MSU's Distance MBA program at No. 18 nationally in the latest rankings, up from No. 22 in last year's rankings. MSU's Distance Master of Science in Information Systems (non-MBA) program is ranked No. 43, up 11 spots from the 2016 rankings. "Our faculty do such a great job in the distance programs," MSU College of Business Dean Sharon Oswald said. "They are able to maintain the same rigor and benefits of a full-time program while still supporting and understanding the requirements of the working student." MSU's online graduate program in the Bagley College of Engineering was once again ranked in the top 25 nationally, coming in at No. 24 in 2017. The College of Education's distance graduate program also made the national rankings at No. 84.
 
Famed ocean explorer Robert Ballard speaks at Mississippi State
A nearly full Bettersworth Auditorium ventured to the deep Tuesday night, when renowned oceanographer Robert Ballard spoke as part of the Mississippi State University Global Lecture Series. "We're going to take you to my world, and show you what's down there and maybe get you interested in what we haven't found yet," Ballard said. Much of Ballard's presentation focused on his discoveries in the Mid-Ocean Ridge, a mountain range covering around a quarter of the earth's surface. In a question and answer session following the lecture, Ballard told the SDN about his work in the Gulf of Mexico, some of which, including research of the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon explosion involved MSU scientists. "We've also found a privateer off of Galveston," Ballard said. "That was something we did with Texas State and Texas A&M Galveston ...My first paper that I wrote as a researcher was on the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf of Mexico is a fascinating body of water ...there's a lot to be done in our own backyard."
 
SOCSD picks Wisconsin firm to finance bond for partnership school
The Wisconsin-based firm Robert W. Baird and Co. will finance Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District's $16 million partnership school-funding bond after school board members picked the group's proposal out of seven total submissions Wednesday. Approximately $12.5 million of the issuance will be used in concert with state and Mississippi State University monetary and property pledges to construct a grades 6-7 partnership school on the university's campus. The remainder will go toward addressing districtwide infrastructure needs, including asphalting, roofing and air conditioning and heating projects. The SOCSD-MSU partnership school was a primary recommendation of the committee that helped guide Starkville School District's and Oktibbeha County School District's state-mandated consolidation in 2015.
 
Lisa Wynn makes Ward 2 re-election bid official
Ward 2 Alderman Lisa Wynn became the final incumbent to qualify for this year's municipal election cycle after she filed her candidate's paperwork Wednesday at City Hall. Wynn, 48, previously announced her intent to run for a second term last year but had not yet officially qualified for the race. She will face former Ward 2 Alderman Sandra Sistrunk in the May 2 Democratic primary. The winner of that election will become alderman unless a Republican qualifies and forces a general election showdown in June.
 
Golden Triangle's Infinity Megasite earns state award
The Golden Triangle Development LINK has won the Mississippi Economic Development Council's 2016 Community Economic Development Award for its Infinity Megasite development and certification. The CEDA program, according to a MEDC press release, is a best practices program meant to recognize exceptional contributions of Mississippi communities for business retention and expansion, business recruitment, community development and community involvement. The LINK unveiled the Infinity Megasite in August. Located west of Golden Triangle Regional Airport, it is the latest addition to the Golden Triangle Industrial Aerospace Park. It's the third megasite in Lowndes County, added to the Lowndes County Megasite (Steel Dynamics) and the Crossroads Megasite (PACCAR). The Infinity Megasite covers 1,444 acres.
 
LINK confirms closing of Columbus Metals USA plant
A company that produces flat-rolled steel products has ceased operations in Columbus, but unlike a larger local company in the same business, the effects on the community aren't significant. Metals USA closed its facility on The Island near the Lowndes County Port in December, according to information provided by the Golden Triangle Development LINK, which monitors business and industry in the area. "It wasn't a really big operation," LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins said. "They produced rolled steel, like Steel Dynamics (at the industrial park on Highway 82), but on a much smaller scale. Their market was more for individuals or small companies, kind of a special-order situation." t the time of its closing, the business had approximately 20 employees, according to LINK records.
 
Mississippi manufacturer betting on a weaker dollar
Wayne Wade has concerns about continuing to do business in Vietnam. But it's not because President Donald Trump "vetoed" America's participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact. It's the strong U.S. dollar, said Wade, president of Bio-Soil Enhancers Inc. of Hattiesburg. Vietnam is the company's biggest customer. The Southeast Asian country would be one of the remaining 11 nations in the proposed trade group. "Our dollar has been way too strong too long" compared with other currencies, making U.S. products more expensive on the international market, Wade said in an interview. Eighty percent of Bio-Soil's business is overseas.
 
Bills would empower Mississippi's legally weak governor
Mississippi lawmakers passed three measures Thursday that could strengthen the traditionally weak powers of the governor. Senate Bill 2567 would allow Gov. Phil Bryant to appoint the director of the Department of Mental Health, who is currently named by a freestanding board, while House Bill 1425 would allow the governor to veto any new regulation proposed by some boards. Meanwhile, House members also removed a block on House Bill 974 , which would let agency heads fire many state employees without going through civil service procedures. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Buck Clarke, R-Hollandale, championed the changes to the mental health agency. He amended the original measure to remove efforts to give the governor control of the state Health Department and state Department of Rehabilitation Services. But Clarke said that, in general, he thought the governor should control agencies the same way the president does at the federal level.
 
Legislature advances bills to enhance governor's power
By razor-thin margins, three bills were passed Thursday that would greatly increase the power of Gov. Phil Bryant. In the House, the Republican leadership finally garnered the vote by a 59-57 margin to pass a bill to remove civil service protection for three years for most state employees. This would allow the heads of the agencies controlled by the governor the authority to fire employees at will -- opponents argue for political reasons. The bill now goes to the Senate. Another bill passed by the House by a 60-58 margin would give the governor the oversight of about 60 "occupational boards" that regulate various professions, such as barbers and accountants.
 
Mental health bill barely passes in Senate
A bill squeaked by in the Senate 25-24 that would give the governor the authority to appoint the executive director of the Mississippi Department of Mental Health. The bill was held on a motion to reconsider, which means it could come back for another vote by Monday's deadline to dispose of reconsideration motions. A mental health board now oversees the agency and appoints the executive director. Two other agencies, the Department of Rehabilitation Services and the Department of Health, had been included in Senate Bill 2567, known as the Mississippi Health Agency Reorganization Act of 2017, but Senate Appropriations Chairman Buck Clarke, R-Hollandale, said language had been changed to apply only to the Department of Mental Health.
 
Mississippi lottery bill fails, but another could pop up
The odds of Mississippi getting a state lottery this year are slim. A lottery bill died because the House did not consider it before a Thursday deadline. But its sponsor, Republican Rep. Mark Baker of Brandon, said there's still a possibility that a senator could insert a lottery into a revenue bill in the next few weeks. Budget and revenue bills can wait until a later deadline. Baker was taking a chance by even trying to put a lottery into House Bill 804 , which originally dealt with mental competency in criminal cases. House rules prohibit members from making drastic changes from a bill's original purpose. Lottery attempts failed in two other House bills Wednesday.
 
MAEP bills die on deadline; rewrite efforts still alive
Bills in the House and Senate to change the school funding formula in Mississippi are dead. But that doesn't mean lawmakers are restricted to waiting for the next session to take action. After adjournment Thursday, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves told reporters that lawmakers might consider options to bring the bill back such as recessing the rules or asking the governor to call a special session. In a joint statement, Reeves and House Speaker Philip Gunn, who spearheaded the effort to overhaul education funding, made clear the Mississippi Adequate Education Program remained in their purview, calling it "seriously flawed." House Appropriations Chairman John Read, R-Gautier, told The Clarion-Ledger that details of how a "resurrection" might occur could shape up in the next few days.
 
Mississippi bill: Let police ask about immigration status
The Mississippi Senate voted 32-16 Thursday to approve a bill saying local governments and public colleges can't stop their employees from asking whether a person has entered the U.S. illegally, and can't try to grant any special status to those who've entered illegally. Senate Bill 2710 now moves to the House for further debate. It adds Mississippi's voice to a debate over so-called sanctuary cities. Since President Donald Trump signed an executive order last month to strip funding from sanctuary cities, states across the country have taken action, with some moving to limit such communities and others adding protections for immigrants. The University of Mississippi's student government briefly considered a call to designate the campus as a sanctuary in November, but withdrew the resolution, with Chancellor Jeffery Vitter saying Ole Miss would follow the law.
 
Youth court reform bill passed, then halted in Mississippi House
A member of the Mississippi House of Representatives has halted a youth court reform bill that passed the House with a unanimous vote on Wednesday. Rep. Mark Baker, R-Brandon, filed a motion to reconsider House Bill 1210, stopping the bill from going to the Senate where it has a solid chance of passing, three of the bills authors said. The bill seeks to provide parents with redacted copies of their own youth court case records and is one of the many legislative efforts to reform issues brought to light in the Sun Herald's "Fostering Secrets" investigation last year. The authors and supporters have spearheaded the effort as a "common-sense" reform approach that would create a fair, more transparent court system for child abuse and neglect cases and doesn't require funding. It's unclear why Baker filed the motion to reconsider.
 
Court rules for Speaker Philip Gunn in 'demon chipmunk' case
he state Supreme Court has ruled in favor of House Speaker Philip Gunn in a lawsuit brought by Rep. Jay Hughes, D-Oxford, over the computerized speed reading of bills in the House last year -- described in the Legislature and court as sounding like a "demon chipmunk." The high court voted 5-2 to remand the case back to Circuit Court, with instructions for the lower court to dismiss the case, saying the courts don't have the authority to interfere with internal procedure in the Legislature. "We hold the court lacks constitutional authority to interfere in the procedural workings of the Legislature, even when those procedures are constitutionally mandated," the ruling said.
 
Regions cutting more branches 'than anybody else in the industry'
Regions Financial Corp. (NYSE:RF) is cutting branches about as fast as any bank in the country, an executive told investors in an earnings call last week. The Birmingham-based bank is down about 600 branches since it peaked in number of locations since 2007. That year, it had about 2,127 branches. Regions is planning to close 27 branches by April 28. Last year, the company closed 103, and plans to close a total of 150 by the end of the year. The branch closures are part of a larger effort to cut expenses. In October, an executive said Regions had cut its workforce by about 1,200 people, or about 5 percent. Regions has branches in 15 states.
 
MUW students learn job interview tips
A local university is preparing its students this month to get the job they want after graduation. Students at Mississippi University for Women took part in mock job interviews Thursday. This is part of the "3 Days to Employment" series which is put on by the Student Success Center on campus. Earlier this month, students learned how to write resumes, cover letters and a reference page. Organizers say this is an important tool for students they wouldn't learn otherwise. "Sometimes you think you know what to say and there are some things you are not supposed to say that you need to be aware of because sometimes that can be the killer for your whole interview because you said something out of place or didn't know how to respond to a particular question," Career Service Specialist Towanda Williams said.
 
U. of Mississippi students, faculty take stand against the travel ban
Well over 100 students and professors rallied Thursday under the flagpole in the Circle to show opposition to President Donald Trump's executive order temporarily banning travel from seven majority-Muslim countries. A local branch of Academics United organized this demonstration in conjunction with other college campuses across the nation. Many Ole Miss students and faculty members there said had already been personally affected by Trump's executive order. Graduate student Saeed Arab is completing his fourth year of a Ph.D. in engineering science at the university, and said he must now put his graduation on hold because of the ban. Faculty members joined the students in protest by speaking from the makeshift podium of the Circle's flagpole. Professors of religion, science and more offered unity to the student crowd and a strong opposition to Trump's order.
 
Jackson State Students Arrested After Drugs, Gun Found in Their Room at Residence Hall
The arrests were made at University Point, but students who live at the residence hall say what happened is really reflective of a bigger issue. "Unfortunately, it was student scholars of our university. They are currently locked up at Raymond," said Lindsey Horton, JSU's Associate Vice President of Public Safety. Jeffery Johnson, Roderick Hibbler, and Khalil Anderson were arrested Thursday morning after a routine room search led police to find a gun, marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and $10-thousand dollars in what they believe is counterfeit money. Alexia Rice lives at University Pointe and feels that arresting the students was too extreme. "Take the headlines from it being Jackson State University, and look at it as the fact that we are still human beings. We're students, we have to protect ourselves, we have a family back at home. People send their kids here," said Rice. Many students feel very strongly that they should be allowed to carry weapons at the university.
 
Three Jackson State students arrested on drug, counterfeit charges
Three men are behind bars after a search at a Jackson State University residence hall turned up counterfeit cash and drugs. A release from JSU on Thursday said authorities got a warrant to search the University Pointe residential facility after suspicious activity caught their attention during a routine safety check. That warrant uncovered $10,000 in suspected counterfeit cash, as well as some drugs. "I want to congratulate Chief Thomas Albright and the JSU Department of Public Safety for their outstanding professionalism and dedication to duty in this investigation," Interim JSU President Dr. Rod Paige said. "This highlights the effectiveness of our law enforcement personnel in keeping the campus community safe and serves notice to others who may want to come on this campus to engage in criminal activity."
 
Group at U. of Alabama continues to protest immigration order
Protesters gathered again at the University of Alabama in opposition to President Donald Trump's executive orders on immigration and in a show of support for international students and scholars. "We are a very diverse university community, and we only thrive and do our job when we have all the members of our community," participant Fran O'Neal said. The lunchtime gathering at Denny Chimes attracted about 75 participants on a brisk Thursday, about a third of the crowd that gathered the week before in protest of the recent executive orders temporarily suspending all immigration by foreign nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries and halting refugee admissions for 120 days. Last week, the marchers presented a letter asking UA President Stuart Bell to take a more proactive stance on protecting those affected by the executive order by declaring UA a sanctuary university.
 
Auburn's Boshell program hosting 10th Research Day to share updates on diabetes, obesity
The Boshell Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases Research Program at Auburn University is holding its 10th annual Research Day March 3 at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center. The event, which has grown each year, brings together more than 175 researchers from throughout the Unites States for a day of learning and sharing information about research related to diabetes and the role of obesity in its development. "We have three widely renowned speakers for this year's event," said organizer Dr. Robert Judd, a professor in the Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Judd also serves as chair of the Boshell program at Auburn.
 
LSU's large contingent of foreign students face uncertain futures with travel ban order
Iranians told fellow students at an LSU rally Thursday that they're unable to visit their families because of President Donald Trump's ban on allowing nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries to enter the United States. Classes started at LSU before the executive order was signed, so with the exception of a new student from Iran coming to study for a graduate degree in comparative literature, LSU students already had entered the country. But at other universities around the country returning students were stopped at airports or forbidden from boarding flights to the U.S. But that doesn't mean the order hasn't impacted international students on a personal level, Hossein Saberi told students attending Free Speech at LSU, a weekly event that quickly became a rally against Trump's travel ban. LSU's Baton Rouge campus has the largest number of international students, by far, of any Louisiana college or university.
 
Breitbart's Milo Yiannopoulos inspires Tennessee 'free speech' bill on campuses
Inspired by a Breitbart News editor whose speeches have spurred protests at colleges across the country, state lawmakers on Thursday touted a bill that they said would protect free speech on Tennessee campuses. While discussing the bill in a news conference, sponsors Rep. Martin Daniel and Sen. Joey Hensley referenced the protests against controversial conservative Milo Yiannopoulos, who is a senior editor at Breitbart. Violence erupted at a protest against a planned Yiannopoulos speech at the University of California, Berkeley, prompting officials there to cancel the speech. The lawmakers indicated that the violence had hampered the expression of conservative ideas at Berkeley. Similar issues have cropped up in Tennessee, they said. Daniel, R-Knoxville, called his legislation "the Milo bill," and said it was "designed to implement oversight of administrators' handling of free speech issues."
 
New U. of Tennessee chancellor: AD search, Title IX top priorities
If there's one thing that disturbs Beverly Davenport, it's sexual assaults on college campuses. "It's something I've spent a great deal of time on and frankly, if there's one issue that keeps me up at night that one, out of all the things I deal with, is the one that probably does," Davenport said, recently speaking in the first hourlong interview she's given since being named chancellor of the University of Tennessee. Davenport has seen first-hand the effects of campus sexual assault as a former interim president and administrator at the University of Cincinnati, an experience that will undoubtedly inform her as she takes over as the first female chancellor at UT next week. The issues Davenport will face also include the ongoing search for a new athletic director, one of the most high-profile jobs on campus, and she also stands to fill up to four other positions in her cabinet, including that of provost.
 
Tennessee Promise inspires national trend
Gov. Bill Haslam and his advisers like to say that Tennessee Promise changed the conversation parents and children have about going to college. Three years after he introduced the landmark scholarship program, it's conversations in statehouses around the country that are changing, placing the Volunteer State at the center of a national movement. In 2014, Tennessee was the only state with a wide-reaching program that offered recent high school graduates the chance to go to community college without paying tuition. Since then, several states have followed that example. Experts say Tennessee's role as a trendsetter could help shape higher education policy for years as students move through the pipeline, exposing the strengths and weaknesses of the increasingly popular model.
 
U. of Florida hit with public records lawsuit
For years, attorney Huntley Johnson has been seen by many as a friend of the University of Florida, representing any number of UF athletes who get into legal scrapes. But Wednesday, Johnson made the decidedly unfriendly move to file a lawsuit against UF, its board of trustees and General Counsel Jamie Lewis Keith, arguing that the university has failed to fulfill a number of public records requests he's made since early this year. The lawsuit asks a circuit judge to force UF officials to immediately comply with his extensive public records request, and to award him attorney's fees and costs connected to the case. UF spokesman Janine Sikes Thursday afternoon rattled off a long string of Johnson's records requests filed since Jan. 2 and said nine had been fulfilled.
 
U. of Florida's new Coral Gables office attracts alumni, new students
The University of Florida has renewed its presence in South Florida with an office in downtown Coral Gables. The site brings together staff from UF Online, the College of Education's Lastinger Center for Learning and advancement and admissions staff, which had separate offices throughout South Florida. "It's sort of like a portal, if you will," said UF spokeswoman Margot Winick. UF Coral Gables will allow alumni and prospective students to stay connected with the university more than 300 miles from Gainesville. Karen Rice, chief operations officer for UF Advancement, said although admissions information can be found online, the office brought a special touch for students eyeing a degree from UF, although it won't host any classes.
 
Changing calendar is tough, UGA committee finds
A University of Georgia committee is finding it harder than they expected to tweak the university's academic calendars. The UGA University Council's educational affairs took on the task this year after widespread absences at the beginning of last fall semester, when a record early first day of classes forced some students to choose between completing internships or jobs and coming to school on time. The committee has managed to squeeze the start date for next fall semester a little later, from Aug. 10 -- which would have been even earlier than this year -- to Aug. 14. Committee members have also learned that changing the academic calendar affects a lot of other things, from booking changes such as work schedules in the UGA housing department and convention bookings for area hotels and The Classic Center.
 
U. of Kentucky students march to protest Trump's immigration ban
University of Kentucky junior Ranym Nenneh was in her hometown of Damascus, Syria, over winter break. Not long after she returned to the United States on her student visa, President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning all Syrians and six other countries from entering the country for three months. She's one of the lucky ones, she said, but the immigration ban, which also banned all refugees for four months, spurred her to organize a protest march Thursday at UK. About 100 people, mostly students and some professors, heeded Nenneh's call despite the frigid temperatures, and wound their way through central campus chanting slogans, such as "Love not hate makes America great." The march was part of a nationwide event called Academics United - No to Visa and Immigration Ban, with similar marches at more than 50 schools.
 
Arkansas legislators weighing reduced access to police info
University of Arkansas officials were alarmed to receive a request for information about the police officers assigned to work a 2015 football game, particularly because it arrived just five days after a terrorist attack at a stadium in France. The officials determined nothing in state law prevents public disclosure of such security plans, so they set out to change it. Their solution, which passed the state Senate on Thursday, would go much further and authorize what some critics say amounts to secret police forces at Arkansas' 33 public colleges and universities. "It's about safety and security on the campus," said Ben Beaumont, spokesman for the University of Arkansas System.
 
Texas A&M Board of Regents unanimously approve out-of-state tuition increase
The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents unanimously approved an increase in tuition costs for out-of-state students at Texas A&M University during its meeting Thursday, meaning an estimated 350 incoming undergraduate students this fall could be the first to see an additional $200 per semester credit hour. Addressing the regents, Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young said the increase comes in response to higher education's current economic climate in the state. "As we have reviewed the cost of education and the amount of state support, it has been increasingly clear to us as a matter of equity to the taxpayers of the State of Texas that out-of-state students should bear a larger proportion of the actual cost of their education," Young said. He said the increase will not affect any out-of-state undergraduates currently attending the university, only those who enroll or transfer in starting with the fall 2017 semester.
 
U. of Missouri curators approve increase to room and board rates
University of Missouri students will see an increase in room and board costs starting this summer. The UM System Board of Curators on Thursday unanimously approved student housing and dining rates, which raises costs at each of the system's four campuses. The university governing board held its regular meeting on MU's campus Thursday and will meet again Friday. Curators increased MU's room and board, for the predominant plan, by $320 -- bringing it to $10,070 for the academic year. The predominant plan is comprised of a renovated traditional double room and a dining plan that includes 225 meals each semester. Missouri S&T will see the largest increase as room and board for the predominant plan goes up by $435 this summer. MU saw a more than 20 percent decline in its incoming class this year. Overall, enrollment dropped 6 percent this school year compared to last.
 
Court Rebukes Trump's Travel Ban, and Harm to Universities Plays a Key Role
In a decision Thursday night, three judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit refused a request from the Trump administration to reinstate a travel ban that had temporarily barred visitors from seven nations, and all refugees, from entering the United States. The decision means that for now at least, President Trump's executive order -- which had stranded students and scholars overseas and forced others on campuses in the United States to cancel research projects and other personal and professional travel out of the country for fear of not being allowed to return -- still cannot be enforced. As with the ruling last Friday by a lower-court judge, which first blocked the executive order nationwide, the travel ban's impact on public colleges and universities played a key role in the appellate panel's unanimous decision.
 
Appeals court keeps Trump's travel ban halted
A federal appeals court ruled Thursday to keep in place a temporary restraining order barring the Trump administration from enforcing an executive order banning entry into the U.S. for nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries. The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which came in a lawsuit filed by the states of Washington and Minnesota, is a defeat for the Trump administration, which is expected to appeal it to the U.S. Supreme Court. The unanimous decision by a three-judge panel specifically said that Washington State and Minnesota had legal standing to challenge the travel ban in part because of the impact on students and faculty members at public universities. Many higher education groups and leaders spoke out against the entry ban, which among other things threatened to disrupt international student admissions by halting all visa processing from the seven countries for at least 90 days.
 
Iowa lawmakers push bill to severely restrict collective bargaining for public campus employees
Academics in Iowa are fighting proposed legislation they say will ravage their unions, with negative consequences for the institutions as a whole. Observers say it looks like Wisconsin's union takedown all over again. "Republicans said they were just going to tweak a couple things in the legislation on collective bargaining, but this isn't tweaking -- they produced a bill that was nearly 70 pages long and completely gutted it," said Joe Gorton, an associate professor of criminology at the University of Northern Iowa and president of its longstanding faculty union. Beyond concerns about faculty members' collective bargaining rights, Gorton said he wondered how the bill would affect the university's ability to recruit and retain top faculty as the only public university in Iowa with collective bargaining for professors.


SPORTS
 
Bulldogs coast at the Hump
At the 4:55 mark of the second quarter, Vanderbilt hit a pair of free throws to finally reach double figures. By that point the Commodores already trailed Mississippi State by 30 and its leading scorer Victoria Vivians by 11. Vivians got off to a scorching start with 21 points in the game's first 15 minutes as the fourth-ranked Bulldogs cruised to an 86-41 victory to improve to 10-1 in the SEC and 24-1 overall. MSU made its first five shots of the game and surged out to a 20-2 start. The Bulldogs continued their sharp shooting knocking down 54.5 percent from the field in the opening half while holding Vandy to just 18.5 percent. Mississippi State will try to sweep the season series at Ole Miss Sunday at 3 p.m. on SEC Network.
 
No. 3 Mississippi State dominates in win against Vanderbilt
Vic Schaefer raised his left arm and pointed to the other end of the court while shouting at his Mississippi State players as they walked off the floor heading toward the tunnel at halftime. The Bulldogs' head coach was visibly irritated. MSU failed to execute a play on offense following a 30-second timeout. In looking to make a pass inside, Blair Schaefer turned the ball over with five seconds left. For Vic Schaefer, it didn't matter that MSU had looked dominant throughout the prior 19:55 of the game Thursday night against Vanderbilt. Nor did it make a difference to him that the Bulldogs held a 27-point lead at the time. "I live and die with every play and my players know that," Vic Schaefer said last week. "I want perfection." And that is one reason why MSU earned a program-best No. 3 ranking in the country in the latest poll.
 
No. 4 Mississippi State Beats Vanderbilt 86-41
Mississippi State came into Thursday night tied for first place in the Southeastern Conference and undefeated at home. Vanderbilt was dead last in the league, had lost 11 of its last 12 and hadn't won a road game in more than two months. The events that followed were predictable. The fourth-ranked Bulldogs beat the Commodores 86-41 for their fourth straight victory, jumping out to leads of 20-2 and 40-8 by midway through the second quarter. "When the lights came on tonight, we were really special," Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer said.
 
Mississippi State, USM baseball rivalry will return to campuses
For the first time, Mississippi State and Southern Mississippi baseball teams will face each other in a traditional three-game weekend series format. MSU announced a home-and-home series with Southern Miss in which the Bulldogs will travel to Hattiesburg for three games in 2018 and the Golden Eagles will come to Starkville in 2019. The 2018 series in Hattiesburg will be the regular-season debut. MSU defeated USM 13-5 in the most recent meeting March 29, 2016, at Trustmark Park in Pearl, the home of the Double-A Mississippi Braves. The teams have met every year since 2009. MSU last went to Southern Miss in 2008 for a two-game midweek series, while the Golden Eagles' last trip to Starkville was in 2007.
 
Todd Grantham hopes to bring stability to Mississippi State's coaching staff
Todd Grantham knows he is stepping through a revolving door. Mississippi State's defensive coordinator position has been a one-and-done position of late, as Manny Diaz and Peter Sirmon had the position for one year. Grantham plans to change that -- for his son's sake. Grantham's son, Corbin, will be a high school sophomore in the fall. Grantham said in his introductory news conference Wednesday he wants to see Corbin graduate from high school in the Starkville area. "When I got here, I fully expected to see him graduate high school from here," Grantham said. "That's what I expected, and that's where we're going to work on." Grantham also mentioned his quick connection with coach Dan Mullen and his wife, Megan, as a reason for taking the job at MSU.
 
Todd Grantham says Mississippi State defense will re-establish physical identity
Fast, physical and aggressive. That will be the tag line for Todd Grantham's defenses at Mississippi State. It's one he repeated Wednesday at his introductory news conference as MSU's defensive coordinator. "I embrace the passion our fans have to be a good defense and be a good football team," Grantham said, "and we're certainly going to work our tails off over the next few months to re-establish the identity we need to play with for us to be successful." MSU also formally introduced safeties coach Ron English, who was the defensive coordinator at San Jose State last season. This will be his second coaching stint in the Southeast. He worked as defensive coordinator at Louisville in 2008.
 
Tyson Carter making his own name at Mississippi State
Tyson Carter's recruitment really took off between his junior and senior year at Starkville High School. Carter rose up the rankings inside the top 100 recruits nationally and was upgraded to a four-star prospect. With that notoriety also came scholarship offers from around the country -- 17 in all. Carter took official visits to Memphis, Arizona State and Miami but there was only one program that he had wanted to play for his entire life and chose to play at hometown Mississippi State. "I really wanted to go to Mississippi State when I was younger, watching coach (Rick) Stansbury and his success," Carter said.
 
Bulldogs place 61 on SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll
A total of 61 Mississippi State student-athletes were named to the 2016 Fall Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey announced Wednesday. The 2016 Fall SEC Academic Honor Roll includes the sports of cross country, football, soccer and volleyball. It is based on grades from the 2016 spring, summer and fall semesters. The Bulldog football team led the way with 31 student-athletes on the honor roll, representing the squad's most on record. That tally was fifth-best among football programs in the league. Soccer led all-female sports by placing 16 student-athletes to the 2016 SEC Academic Honor Roll.
 
Listen and tell us if Denzel Nkemdiche fell asleep during this radio interview
Former Ole Miss linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche made quite the impression during an afternoon radio interview this week. It just wasn't the impression he was hoping got. Nkemdiche joined "Head to Head" with Matt Wyatt and Richard Cross on Super Talk Mississippi. When the hosts went to Nkemdiche on the phone, there was nothing but loud breathing, which sounded like snoring. Did he fall asleep? The hosts explained that he's in the process of launching a music career, and he was willing to discuss that on the air.
 
U. of Missouri System hires architect for $96.7 million Memorial Stadium expansion
An architect has been hired to handle the renovation of Memorial Stadium's south end zone and design a separate training center for football. The UM System Board of Curators, meeting Thursday in Columbia, approved spending $4.31 million in private donations and gifts to cover design costs by Kansas City-based architect firm Populous Inc. The total budget for the south end zone expansion is $96.7 million, which is subject to additional approval by the curators in June. "A lot of us raise eyebrows at how much we devote to athletics, myself included," Curator John Phillips said at the meeting. "But I am convinced that this project will benefit the entire university and MU campus."



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